The best theatre in October 2020—Jesus Christ Superstar and Beat the Devil

Plus the Wind in the Willows at Porthcurno
August 29, 2020

The Wind in the Willows, Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, 22nd to 26th September

Live theatre is back—in parks, gardens and, in Cornwall, at the marvellous Minack Theatre, four miles from Land’s End, carved on a cliff face in 1932 by Rowena Cade and her gardener. The Wind in the Willows comes from the well-established outdoor touring group Illyria, with social distancing and face masks, no interval and family-friendly performances. The popular morning tours of the theatre and its sub-tropical gardens are well worth a look, too.

Beat the Devil, The Bridge, 27th August until 31st October

Pending the government’s green light for indoor performances, Ralph Fiennes will deliver a blistering monologue by David Hare based on the playwright’s experience of contracting the virus, and the politics of its handling. Director Nicholas Hytner hopes to follow up with staged versions of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, which was recently transmitted on the BBC. Lesley Manville, Monica Dolan, Imelda Staunton and Lucian Msamati reprise their turns alongside new monologues from Inua Ellams, Yolanda Mercy and Zodwa Nyoni.

Jesus Christ Superstar, Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, 14th August to 27th September

Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s thrilling rock oratorio was given a make-over in Timothy Sheader’s award-winning 2016 Open Air production. It now comes to the rescue of the late summer season with a semi-staged concert performance, compressed to 90 minutes, which should work well on the theatre’s terrace-like design. There’s room for a socially distanced audience of 390 (one third of capacity), with 140 people involved around the stage.